Last year, Kia introduced the Carnival Hi Limousine in its home market of South Korea, adding an awkward high-roof design, plenty of extra headroom (291 mm of it, to be precise) and a hint of luxury. Now, the MPV gets a whole heaping of the latter with the introduction of the Premium Lounge variant, a four-seater model in the vein of the Toyota Alphard Royal Lounge and the million-ringgit Lexus LM.
As with those Japanese cars, the elimination of the third row has allowed the rear seats to be pushed rearward, granting near-infinite levels of legroom. The pews have also grown to become proper first-class items with full electric adjustment, high-quality foam and a Premium Relaxation Seat function that helps distribute the load on the hips and waist.
Adding to the air of plushness is the Nappa leather upholstery with three-dimensional quilting on the rear seats. Meanwhile, a large console has sprouted in between, providing foldaway tables and an integrated seven-inch touchscreen to control the seat adjustment, climate control, cabin lights, the 21.5-inch overhead monitor and a foot massager.
Yes, the Premium Lounge model even comes with a foot massager, developed in collaboration with Korean healthcare company Hu-Tech and located oddly on the driver’s side. To the right of it sit a heated and chilled drinks holder and a storage bin for stowing shoes and other odds and ends.
And that’s not all – the boot also features a full-width clothes hanger rack with integrated LED lighting, plus stowage boxes at the bottom. About the only thing missing compared to the Lexus is a limousine-style cabin divider separating the front and rear sections. The super high-end model doesn’t come cheap, costing an extra 24.12 million won (RM88,000) over the seven-seater version at 86.83 million won (RM317,000).
The addition of the Premium Lounge model coincides with a 2022 model year refresh for the greater Carnival lineup, which throws in the new Kia logo, a remote parking assistant, low-speed reverse autonomous emergency braking, a remote 360-degree camera view, automatic wipers and a mould-suppressing after-blow function for the air-conditioning system.
Also new is a Noblesse Outdoor variant, ditching the power adjustment and increasing the slide length of the second-row seats. This enables the chairs to be pushed further forwards, allowing adults up to 180 cm in height to lie down in the boot – perfect for the air mattress that is part of the revised accessories package, which also includes a tent and curtains.
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